A PR and marketing agency has pledged its support to a Gainsborough mental health charity

The Bearded Fishermen Mick Leyland (left) and Rick Roberts (right)
The Bearded Fishermen Mick Leyland (left) and Rick Roberts (right)

Two Gainsborough men who previously attempted suicide and struggled with homelessness and went on to set up a mental health charity have been chosen as a company’s charity of the year.

The Bearded Fishermen, Rick Roberts and Mick Leyland, have been chosen as award-winning PR and marketing agency Shooting Star’s Charity of the Year for 2020.

Following their own personal mental health battles, the two keen anglers realised there was a lack of support available and decided to launch their own charity in October last year.

The pair hope that working with Shooting Star over the next 12 months will enable them to raise the charity’s profile and reach more people as a result. The agency will work for the charity on a pro bono basis throughout 2020 providing them with PR, marketing, online and event support.

Rick said: “We’ve got lots planned for the Bearded Fishermen this year. We’re hoping to organise more events, broaden our reach and further expand the services we currently offer.

“We are thrilled that the team at Shooting Star will be supporting us with future events, our first being a black-tie fundraiser we’re in the early stages of organising.”

The charity also runs a weekly ‘befriending’ support group at Connexions Community Hub in Gainsborough on a Tuesday evening.

Visitors are free to drop in, speak in confidence and get help and advice on a range of issues ranging from depression to financial hardship.

Rick said: “Our dream is to own our own support hub, manned by a number of volunteers, that allows us to offer a safe space for people to visit, talk about their problems and receive the assistance they need.

“It takes a lot of courage for someone to ask for help, so we want to make ourselves as approachable as possible. Having a space of our own that allows us to offer this is our end goal.”

Jez Ashberry, Shooting Star Director, said: “We had 33 compelling entries this year, the highest number of applications we’ve received to date.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer the Bearded Fishermen the support needed to help them grow, and most importantly, make a difference. The charity has lots planned for this year.”